Desert as deadly as sea for surge of Europe-bound migrants

By Daniel Flynn DAKAR (Reuters) – At least as many migrants may be dying of hunger and thirst in the Sahara as are drowning in the Mediterranean during this year’s huge surge of human trafficking from Libya to Europe, the International Organization for Migration said on Friday. The number of people traveling through Niger’s vast desert wastes to reach North Africa and Europe could more than double this year to 100,000, the global migration body’s Niger office said. The migrants are often abused by traffickers who abandon them to die in the desert if they run out of money. With the numbers attempting the crossing surging this year, the IOM expects the death toll will be many times higher.

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